Inspector Magnusson: Murder on the Titanic floats on a story, but sinks on puzzles
The year of Titanic-inspired games continues with the release of Inspector Magnusson: Murder on the Titanic, a murder-mystery hidden object game that takes place aboard the Titanic before it met its tragic end. A coal tender has been found bludgeoned to death, and it’s up to you and Professor Magnusson to solve this “whodunit” case surrounding more than just murder, but the sinking of the ship itself.
As Professor Magnusson’s assistant, you’ll be the errand boy (or girl) in this case, completing tasks for the professor aboard the ship and then listening (or rather, reading) conclusions and hypothetical theorizations from the professor based on what you find.
You’ll interact with quite a few secondary characters around the ship, but without voice acting, you’ll need to expect to spend quite a bit of time reading. This isn’t such a burden however, as it allows your own name to be integrated into every step of the storyline, making your presence in the world seem a bit more real.
Gameplay is entirely linear, giving you a single step to complete in a scene before moving on to the next. This isn’t to say that you won’t revisit areas of the ship later on (using the map’s quick travel feature), but once you complete a single task, you’ll be forced to leave and advance the story before coming back.
Hidden object scenes are easy to complete with large, detailed items that stand out from their junk-piles quite nicely. Unfortunately, there’s an overabundance of these scenes, which can actually make the experience a bit boring in spots, as you may long to get back to the well-crafted murder mystery storyline.
Likewise, puzzles are frequently thrown in your path, but these are incredibly simplistic and repetitive offerings with just a few categories (jigsaw or tile sliding puzzles, for instance). Combine these easy puzzles with the quickly recharging hint and puzzle skip meters, along with the relative ease of completing most hidden object scenes, and you have an overall experience that’s more suited to a casual hidden object fan (or even a younger player that is mature enough to handle the subject matter), and not those looking for a real challenge.
It’s unfortunate that the game has these repetitious features, as the storyline is quite intriguing. Twists and turns surround a doomed love affair between our lowly coal tender and an upper-class sophisticate, as seen in the victim’s cryptic messages, left behind to warn of the Titanic’s fate in a would-be conspiracy.
As it stands, the storyline here is more than enough to warrant at least a trial of the game’s demo, to see if you can appreciate the stripped-down gameplay mechanics. Even for its ease, there is quite a bit of content here, as you’ll often spend time (perhaps too much of it) completing errands for secondary characters before they’ll offer any clues to your investigation.
Based on its storyline alone, Inspector Magnusson: Murder on the Titanic would be instantly recommendable, but whether or not it’s ultimately worth the cost of admission will be up to your own tastes and requirements for difficulty in your hidden object adventures.